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‘The Meg’ Heads for Franchise Status as Sequel, Theme Parks Eyed

Producers of this summer’s monster U.S.-China co-production “The Meg” are expecting a sequel to the shark blockbuster to emerge from the deep, they said Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Launching another instalment to the thriller is “definitely the plan,” “The Meg’s” executive producer Catherine Xujun Ying told attendees of the US-China Entertainment Summit at the Skirball Center.

“It’s still very early stages right now, but we’re working or starting to work on it. We’d like to keep it a secret at this time,” she said. Ying is also VP of China Media Capital and CEO of its production company Gravity Pictures.

“The Meg” is now the highest grossing Sino-American co-production in history, hauling in $528 million as of last weekend, surpassing “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which brought in $521 million at the box office.

It was adapted from the first in a series of five books by science fiction author Steve Alten. Producer Belle Avery bought film adaptation rights in perpetuity to all five books, saying that from early days she had envisaged the picture as “’Jurassic Park’ under the sea.”

Talks are now underway to develop theme park attractions in China, Ying said. “Hopefully China will have the first Jurassic aquarium,” without further elaboration.

Yet despite the movie’s megalithic success, the team behind it admitted that there had been doubts before its release.

“We were being laughed at by a lot of people for making this movie. Before it came out, the tracking was horrible. They were saying this is a huge mistake, Warner Brothers has blown it, China is done,” said director Jon Turteltaub, to chuckles from the audience.

“Every single person up here did it for the money, for the money, for the money, for the money,” he joked candidly, gesturing to the panel of producers that also included Chantal Nong, Warner Bros.’ VP of DC-Based film production, and Jiang Wei, CEO of Legendary East, who had pushed hard for the film in its early days while still working at CMC.

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